basedeltazero: (Default)
 So.  I was looking around on Hulu... not because I actually go to Hulu very often, but apparently I was now.  That was when something caught my attention - an anime called 'Girls und Panzer ('Girls and armor'.  Obviously).  The name sounds like it ought to be dumb... and it is.  It is gloriously, brilliantly dumb.  The premise is simple.  A girl transfers to a new school, hoping to get away from her family, but is soon drafted into participating in the international tournament of the world's most popular martial art/sport for young women: TANKS.

Yes, tanks.  The big things with the armor that drive around with cannons on.  They fight with them.  In high school.  For fun (and to train the virtues every young girl needs, like courage, prudence, and determination...).   Unfortunately, our Hero doesn't especially like this idea, because, as it turns out, the 'family obligations' she was trying to get away from?  Are that she's apparently one of a long line of competitive tankers.  Absurdly Powerful Student Council cares not, and forces her to play, under threat of stuff, hoping that she can lead their ragtag team to victory.  Also, the school is a city on a giant ship.  Is this relevant?  I don't know.  Nobody is telling.

I've only gotten up to episode five.  There may or may not be an overarching non-tournament plot.  However, the setting - if there is one, other than, 'Japan, but with school-ships and tank battles instead of... well, saner sports' - is established through the 'not tellin 'ya squat' method.  My personal theory is that it's a gender-swapped mirror of... wait, I won't bore you with random speculation.  Thus far, however, all the gaps (such as 'how the hell are tank battles considered a non hilariously-dangerous form of activity for schoolgirls'. (I suspect that... sorry, I did it again)) are filled with 'Tanks'.  'World of Tanks, the Anime, but with schoolgirls' would be a decent description.

Characters... the characters are sketched out rather roughly, in the usual 'one major trait' style.  There's one who's an obsessive tank nerd, one who's basically a would-be playgirl, and one who, uh... arranges flowers?  As I said, not particularly deep, but it works, and I suppose there's something there.  You might expect a lot of fanservice, given the... 'girls high school (with tanks)'  premise, and the creative team...  (A large number are Strike Witches veterans, a series perhaps most remarkable for the curious absence of pants on the female characters) ... but, there really isn't that much - a subtle bath scene is all there is thus far.  However, the girls aren't really why you'd watch it...

That'd be the tanks.  They're all real tanks from the WWII era - reinforcing the 'World of Tanks the Anime' impression - and they're all rendered quite accurately, at least to my (interested) layman's eye.  The battles are smooth, yet energetic, and rather clever.  They're even on the nearer side of realistic, though there is of course fudging... (not least of all the 'how is this not absurdly dangerous' factor, and that the speeds seem a bit high).  It's quite a lot of fun to watch, if you're into that kinda stuff.

The girls are drawn in a fairly simplistic style - not atypical for anime, with a fair amount of deformation that makes them look very childish instead of the high-schoolers they're supposed to be.  But the animation itself seems competent, though obviously there isn't as much movement as a more 'conventional' fighting series.  The tanks, however, are CGI, which works quite well, and allows for a lot of gribblies.  Voices are in Japanese (with dashes of questionably-accented English/German/Latin - the actual words seem to be correct, however), and do suffer from the classic anime squeakishness in many cases.  Music is... mostly background, and not really distinctive... except for the various songs that are played as background to the various national teams, which are historical songs associated with that country (e.g. 'Battle Hymn of the Republic' as one of the themes for the Americans...)

If you like tanks, and don't mind a little bit of silliness mixed in, this might be worth watching.  Just... don't read the comments.  Alternatively, do, and learn such fascinating things as the fact that females are incapable of lifting twenty pounds!

Content Note (Be aware I have only seen the first six episodes): Cartoon violence, parental abuse, and (maybe?) able-ism.

Click on the StuG Panzer III Assault for Crunchyroll.
Rompan StuG is Best StuG

Kids, don't try this at home.
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Base Delta Zero

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